The Telegraph
Saturday , August 13 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Myth reality in cops’ CCTV plan

Patna, Aug. 12: Patna police’s obsession to put the state capital under surveillance with closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) seems to be meagre pep talk than reality, five months after the proposal was first mooted.

Recently, the Patna police had been talking of installing CCTVs on schools premises, roundabouts, cyber cafés, bus stands and also in apartments. The reality is, however, conflicting. Such cameras are nowhere to be seen till date.

A recent directive of the city police, which asked the schools to install high-resolution CCTVs on the campuses, is yet to be implemented.

In June this year, the police vowed to install 28 pan-tilt-zoom CCTV cameras in at least seven locations of the state capital. The idea was to keep an eye on the traffic conditions prevalent at these spots, something which would have helped the traffic policemen as well as the commuters.

Two months have passed but the project is still on paper.

“It is a fact that of late there have been a lot of proclamations made with regard to the setting up of CCTV cameras at different places. It could be a reality in the near future but as of now nothing has been done in this connection. It seems, the senior officers just love to utter the word ‘CCTV’,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

Much before the murder of transporter Ravikant Choudhary at Mithapur bus stand on July 27, the police officers who fancy these cameras had heralded introducing CCTV cameras at the bus stand.

On May 3, the police had announced that 12 CCTV cameras would be set up at the entry and exit gates of the bus stand and 32 such cameras would be installed all around the stand. Three months have passed but the CCTV plan is far from reality.

Police have, however, come up with an excuse to counter the charges of not taking up the project seriously.

“Some private bus operators had joined hands in the project, along with the police. But after the murder at Mithapur bus stand, things have taken a backseat. It is obvious that the work for the project would slow down after the murder. The project has not been scrapped for sure,” a source at the city police office told The Telegraph.

In April, too, the men in uniform chanted the CCTV mantra after spurt in cases of thefts in apartments. The police had meetings with the societies of different apartments.

The direction was simple: install CCTV cameras and watch the thieves run for cover.

It has been four months now and none of the apartments has installed a single CCTV camera. Furthermore, the police’s initiatives, which talked about a background check of the servants and the private guards at the apartments, have also gone for a toss. In March, the city cops donned the avatar of moral police raiding cyber cafes of the state capital on the pretext of cracking down on couples indulging in immoral acts.

The idea of CCTV again shot up here after the police announced that every cyber cafe would have to install two CCTVs at the entry and exit gates. “Many cafes, after the diktat, removed the concrete partitions between the cubicles. But none installed these cameras. The police are not doing much about it at present,” a deputy superintendent of police told The Telegraph.

“It has to be understood that mere installation of CCTV cameras will not help in anyway. There needs to be proper monitoring too. The project has been implemented in not even one place,” a senior police officer said.

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